Hello everyone! It has definitely been a long time since I’ve posted. With the pandemic hitting it has been a time of stress and confusion but I feel good about this year.
Our school has reopened with a plan on how to keep myself and other students safe with a strategy called “cohorting”. It is where your class stays within their group the whole day and does not do school-wide activities in person. Staying in our separate “cohorts” is a way to stop the increase of community spread. Students are asked to wear their masks when inside the school except for when they are eating.
In my all-star classroom students have individual desks each with their own individual supplies. All classroom activities and supplies have to be in individual bins and only one student can use the item at a time. When something is used it gets put in the “sanitation station” where the items are cleaned to be put back in the classroom so it’s safe for someone else to use.
Our first days of school went by quite smoothly! Much of the days were spent singing songs and learning the classroom procedures and routines. Students got to enjoy extension centers where they learned problem solving skills and explore what we have to offer in the classroom.
We also learned how to use our individual materials by creating an anchor chart, writing a list of things we can and can’t do with crayons. Students provided the answers for the anchor chart and together we developed a guideline on how to safely and properly use the crayons.
Then students practiced their coloring skills by coloring a soccer ball that had clear lines and spaces for them to color inside. Their goal was to color inside the lines and have as little white-space as possible.
To celebrate the first week of kindergarten we read books that talked about going to school for the first time such as “Miss Bindergarten Get’s Ready for Kindergarten” and the book “Kindergarten Rocks!”. Then students talked about how they felt on the first day of school and created a first day of school pennant. They picked an emoji that they felt matched their emotion for that day. They colored the emoji and glued it onto the pennant. They also practiced writing their name on top instead of writing the feeling. When students finished they were able to take their individual book bags and practice reading leveled reading books.
To help students learn the alphabet we are learning special characters called “Alphafriends” from the Journey’s reading curriculum. Each Alphafriend has a hand motion that goes along with each of the characters. We also learned how to write the letters by writing in our “rainbow write” journal.
As the first week of school wrapped up, we continued to learn about following rules / expectations and participated in getting to know each other activities. We read the story No David! by David Shannon. The students paired up and practiced looking for the rules that David was breaking as we read the story. After the story, students made David Popsicle stick puppets and retold the story using the puppets. You can find the No David! puppets here.
The next day we read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Marin Jr. and talked about how letters make up words, and the most important word we know is our name! Students wrote their name in boxes, cut them up and put them back in the correct order. They counted the number of letters in their name and wrote the number.
Then we continued to get to know each other by sharing how many letters are in our name, and saying our favorite color. Then we graphed how many letters are in our name to as a little math extension!
Finally, one thing I’ve been really trying to teach my students this year is proper use of shared materials and not wasting. Students have been learning how to making good use of glue sticks and not wasting bottled glue. They have been taught the phrase “just a dot, not a lot”. I gave them a worksheet copied on card-stock where they glued on the dots of the worksheet, trying not to overuse the glue. To find out more about this idea go here.
For those of you who are new to teaching, laying out / designing your classroom can be a bit intimidating. Here are some pictures of what my previous classrooms looked like on the first day of school. The key is not to put too much up on the first day. Make enough space to allow for your instruction to guide the displays. If you put too much up, you’ll find students can be over-whelmed.
2013 – 2014 – K-1 Classroom
2012 – 2013 – Kindergarten Classroom
2011 – 2012 K -1 Classroom